So it’s been quite a while since I actually wrote something but today I decided to, not because I just felt like it but because there is something I want to share with you, with the world. I actually wrote this a while ago and shared it with a few loved ones but I decided to write it here also because I believe these are truths everyone needs to know. What I am sharing is something which really hit me hard and something I have to learn which has changed my perspective on a lot of things and I hope it blesses you. This piece of writing basically talks about the difference between God’s love and God’s pleasure.
I know most of us, if not all, know that God loves us unconditionally and we can’t do anything to make Him love us anymore than He already does and conversely, we can’t do anything to make Him love us any less. However, I believe we are in charge of how pleased God is with us. God’s pleasure in us is not unconditional like His love for us but rather it is based on our behavior.
God’s love for us is unconditional and unchanging, true, we are told that in His word. In Jesus’ prayer before the night of His crucifixion (John 17:23) He prayed to God and said “…and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved me.” I smiled when I first read this scripture because of the amazing truth that God loves me as much as He loves Jesus which is almost too much to comprehend. His love for us isn’t based on our behavior but rather on His character of faithfulness. In Romans 5:8 we are also told that “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Also John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” I can go on and share many scriptures that talk about God’s unconditional love for us but I’d rather not bore you with that 🙂 . All of us must never forget or doubt the love God has for us. No matter what happens in our lives, we need to remember that God’s love for us is unconditional and not based on our performance. His love is a constant love that never fades or ends :). However many of us have subconsciously concluded that since God loves us unconditionally it automatically means he is pleased with us, which is not true.
I believe we are responsible for how pleased God is with us. In other words, God’s pleasure in us is based on our choices in life. The great Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:9 “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.” In other words Paul is saying that it must be our goal to please God. In all that we do, we must make it our aim/goal to please God. Our life goal as children of God is to please Him in everything we do and we must all be passionate in our pursuit to be fully pleasing to God regardless of our conditions. A great man of God put it this way “Cheerfully pleasing God should be the driving motivation in the life of every believer and nothing else should take preeminence over this purpose.” I don’t know about you but my greatest satisfaction comes from when I know God is pleased with me. Just as we desire to please our mothers and fathers, our truest desire must be to please God.
I hope you are not getting bored because I am only now starting 😀
One thing about pleasing God is that we will be rewarded for it and that’s the main reason why Paul exhorts us to please God. Paul makes it clear in 2 Corinthians 5:9-10 exactly why as believers we must be well pleasing to God. He says
“Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” We are all advised to live lives pleasing to God because one day He will judge us. Don’t get me wrong, if you have received Jesus Christ into your life, He is your savior and your sins have been washed away. But one day we will all stand before God as a firm judge. Every believer will go to heaven, that may be true, but we will also stand individually before God who will judge us and ask us what we did as followers of Christ. Rewards will be given based on what was done while we were on earth. What this scripture is therefore saying is that, we will each receive what we deserve.
What I am saying here is not just related to us not living sexually immoral lives, or lying, stealing, cheating, drinking, etc… but I am also talking about our labor as believers in Christ Jesus. As believers, having accepted Christ, we have been forgiven for our sins. However, we will be rewarded on that day, or suffer loss, for our labor as believers and followers of Jesus Christ. This is not philosophy, it is scriptural, and Colossians 2:6-7 teaches us that “as we have received Christ, we must walk in Him, rooted and built up in the faith” and 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 says “Now if anyone builds on this foundation (Christ Jesus) with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day of Christ will declare it because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss but he himself will be saved, but only as one who has passed through fire.” This scripture actually shocked me and I had the “What?! Moment” because I hadn’t really been told this, well I had heard and read similar things but was never as shocked as I was when I read this scripture and never understood it like this.
Now referring to 1 Corinthians 3:12-15, when you put fire under wood, hay or straw they are devoured and no longer exist, but if you put fire under gold, silver or precious stones, they are purified and will endure. As believers we will be rewarded based on what we did here on earth, based on our performance. We would all go to heaven but we won’t be rewarded equally.
We are saved because of Jesus’ blood and what He did for us on the cross. Our sins have been paid for. Salvation was God’s gift and was not based and will never be based on our works. But we must not confuse salvation with eternal rewards and losses. John Bevere puts it this way, “what we do with the cross determines where we’ll spend eternity. However, the way we live as believers will determine how we’ll spend it.”
Paul wrote that there will be people who are truly saved by the grace of God because they received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, but they will get to the judgment seat and lose all the rewards God desired for them. These saints will not lose heaven but will lose their rewards because they didn’t do what pleased God. He also says that there are the saints who will be rewarded greatly because of how they built their lives on Jesus Christ and did what pleased God. Too many Christians are ignorant of this truth. God desires for us to receive full rewards.
The Apostle John wrote in 2 John 1:8 “Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.” I don’t know about you but I want a full reward when I get to heaven.
God has set goals for each one of us, He has set goals for our lives. There are things God wants us to do on earth before Christ comes. David said in Psalm 139:16 “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”
Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” From this scripture we realize that not only are we told that God planned our paths beforehand but also “we should walk in them.” I get excited because of the glorious revelation that we are not told that “we would walk in them” but rather that “we should walk in them.” As far as I’m concerned there is a huge difference between “should” and “would”. In other words free will comes into effect here because fulfilling these assignments and the work God has called us to do is not automatic. There are choices we need to make, things we need to do in order to get there. We have to cooperate.
Knowing God’s will for our lives gives us the ability to please Him. God has set extraordinary goals for us and it is up to us to discover what they are through prayer, meditating on His word and through close fellowship with His Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 3:9 we are called “God’s fellow workers.” We must all search out our personal assignments and move towards them, praying, believing God, laboring diligently, walking on the right path God has placed before us, the path which we are to walk, not going astray, not choosing to do what will please us and not please God, but rather choose to do what will please God at all times and not give up.
The Christian life we are called to live is not that of “take it as it comes and live the best you can.” Rather we must seek to fulfill God’s specific plans for our lives. It’s not just about being born again. We must labor in the good works we have been called to do.
Finally, Paul stated in Ephesians 5:17, “Therefore do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.” Another version says “Don’t be stupid. Instead find out what the Lord wants you to do.”
Let us all as believers find out what God wants us to do, we must grasp it and do it to His glory. Being saved is not enough. Some of us may know or probably have a fair idea of what God wants us to do, we must be sure to stay on that path and aim to please God. Some may not know at all but let us keep praying, reading and meditating on His word. Let us continue to walk with Him and ask Him to reveal what it is He wants us to do. This should be done in every area of our lives and in whatever situation we find ourselves. In our academics, relationships, in our future plans etc…
Depending on who you are and the beliefs you hold you may find this to be rather riveting or maybe even surreal. For me, I find this to be absolute truth, and there are scriptural references to prove so. I want to live a life of purity and walk blameless in the sight of God but not only do I want live a pure life, with clean hands and a clean heart but I want to know what the will of God is concerning my life and do that which He has called me to do and expects me to do here on earth. I don’t want to be foolish and ignorant of what God wants me to do, of His will for me and the plans He has for me. I want to understand and firmly grasp what His plans are for me and stay on the path which He has placed before me. Not just grasp it for a while and let it go but firmly grasp it as the apostle Paul said and fulfill that which He desires for me till the day I see Him face to face.
I want to live the extraordinary life God has called me to live…in my family, in my friendships with others, in my love life, in my academics, in my career…in everything that I do and more especially to that which He has called me to do. I want to be one of the saints who not only makes it to heaven but also receives the full rewards God desires for me to have, and hear God say “well done my good and faithful servant, indeed I am well pleased.” And when I hear that I’ll probably say with tears running down my cheeks “Oh thank You Papa! I have waited for this day for so long!”
There is a song I like to sing by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir titled “I’ll say yes” and from the beginning we understand that it is a song of surrender in order that God can take control of our lives, in order that His will be done in our lives and it says “I’ll say yes Lord, I’ll say yes…to Your will Lord and to Your way, I’ll say yes. Where You lead me, I will go…I’ll say yes Lord, I’ll say yes.”
Whatever God calls you to do, be it now or later, whatever He reveals to You ask Him to give you the strength to do what He wants you to do and help you go through whatever comes your way because believe me, there will be tests, there will be trials you will go through…but don’t give up. If God hasn’t given up on you what in the world makes you think you should give up on yourself?
I learned this the hard way but let us all remember that our aim is to please God, not ourselves. There is a scripture which God has placed on my heart and one that I love so much, and I’m running with this scripture throughout the year and the rest of my life and it is in 2 Corinthians 12:9 which says “My grace is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in your weakness.”
What more do I need? When God Himself tells me that His grace is sufficient for me, in other words His grace is enough for me and I don’t need anything else but I have all that I need and also what else can I say when He tells me that His strength is made perfect in my weakness. For me that is deep because God did not say He has given me His strength up to a certain level or a certain point neither did He say He has given me some of His strength. I have the full strength of Jehovah made perfect in my weakness! When this scripture hits you (and I pray it does 🙂 ) you need to celebrate!!! And thank God! The word perfect means flawless, impeccable, unspoiled, unadulterated, without fault! Whenever we feel weak, we need to remind ourselves that this is God’s promise to us and we must also remind Him of what He has promised us.
I have two favorite scriptures in the bible My first favorite Bible verse is Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has started a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” My second favorite bible verse is Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said and will He not do? Or has He spoken and will He not make it good?” These words really minister to me because sometimes on our journey with God and in working towards fulfilling His heart’s desire and His will for our lives the journey gets tough and there may be obstacles along the way but these two scriptures keep me going and give me so much confidence, being as bold as a lion, not giving up but continuing that journey and staying on the path to fulfill God’s calling for my life no matter what may come my way in order that I may please my Father, my Creator, my Lord.
Don’t forget that everything we do, we do to the glory of our Father, our maker, our Lord, our Savior. We must offer our lives in total surrender to God and to His will for us, making it our aim to please Him in all that we do. Stay blessed!. 🙂